Fly Tying For Beginners – Tips & Tricks

Fly Tying For Beginners – Tips & Tricks

If you’re like me it wasn’t long after I picked a fly rod up that I wanted to start tying my own flies. After a days fishing at Raygil Trout Fishery near Skipton we took a detour on the way home and called in at Fly Only, a fly fishing shop in Huddersfield. Entering the shop I saw the shop owners son, Dylan, tying some flies. After watching him for a while and being fascinated, I looked to my dad and the next thing we were being shown the starter kits they had. I left the shop with a vice and a veniards starter kit. in my dads words “the biggest waste of money, you’ll use it for a week and it’ll get thrown away” if only I knew the journeys it would take me on!


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How To Tie The Pink Quill Jig

How To Tie The Pink Quill Jig

whem it comes to winter grayling fishing jig flies and bugs are most popular amongst UK fly anglers. In the colder months grayling will oftern shoal together on them really cold days. these weighted flies allow you  to get down to them grayling fast!  the most productive method to fish these flies is using a French and Czech leaders with indicators. see below how I tie the pink quill jig.

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Olive Perdigon Nymph Step By Step

Perdigon nymphs have become one of my favourite flies to tie over the last year. originated from Spain, these mini bullet look flies have fast become nymphs that have found a home in many anglers fly boxes. The thing I love the most about them is that the list is endless for the different colour variations you can tie them in. You can use all manner of materials like Trans Brite, tinsles and my favourite, polish quills!

Invented by Spanish competition Anglers these flies are designed to be fished in fast flowing rivers and sink very quickly. When fishing with perdigons I set up with a 10ft 4wt rod, a French leader and either 2 perdigons or a Perdigon on the point and a lighter nymph such as a simple hares ear just above, I’ve found this to be the most productive in recent outings.

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Black and Green Quill Nymph 

Although we’re already almost half way through January, happy new year! I’ve had a great start to the new year with some fishing thrown in and lots of fly tying.

Last week I fished with one of my very good friends Lisa Isles. We ventured out in some horrific wind In persute of some stocked rainbow trout at Barnsfold Trout Fishery. Take a look at her blog Here to see how we faired.

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Tying a Olive CDC Up-wing Dry Fly

As the rivers across the country open up for the trout season we still have a little bit longer to wait in Yorkshire, as they don’t kick off until the 25th march. Not too much longer though!

In anticipation of the season to get rolling, I’ve been filling the last few remaining gaps in my fly boxes. The latest batches have been some CDC upwing dry flies.

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How To Tie a Quill Nymph

Now, if you follow me on social media you’ll know that I love a fly that is tied with stripped quill. There’s just something I love about the stuff, the way it has that segmented look when the fly is finished and it’s an easy material to work with and I use them on both nymphs and dries. They come in all different colours so what’s not to love?

On this particular occasion I’m going to show you how I use the quills to tie a simple yet very, very effective river nymph pattern. So here’s how I tie it.

You’ll need the following;
Hook – Partridge Standard Dry size 12/14/16/18/20
Thread – preferred tying thread – brown/tan
Bead – silver/copper to fit hook
Tail – coq de Leon fibres
Body – polish quills preferred colour
Thorax – hares ear
U.V resin – Deer Creek Diamond Hard

Step 1 –  

Put the hook in the vice with the bead at the eye of the hook ready to start your tying thread. Secure the bead with the thread. 

Step 2 – 

Run the thread down the hook to the bend and tie in some Coq De Leon fibres. 

Step 3 – 

At this point I like to spin the tying thread so it lays flat when tying materials in. Especially quills as you need a nice flat tapered under body of thread for the quill to lie on.

Take your stripped quill and as your looking at it the black strip on the quill should be on the bottom of the quill and the colour of the quill on the top, in order to achieve the segmented look to the fly. Tie in the quill and proceed to build up a tapered body. 

Step 4 – 

Take your hackle pliers and grab the quill and wind up the hook shank towards the bead making sure you don’t overlap the turns. 

Step 5 – lock in the quill with a couple of turns and make a half hitch so you can varnish and cure the fly with UV resin. 

Step 6 – 

Once you have cured the fly take your hares ear and dub on your thorax, I don’t like to over do it with the dubbing as I like my nymphs quite sparse. 

Step 7 –

Whip finish your fly and pick out the dubbing to make it look scruffy. 

And that’s it! A simple fly but very effective. The beauty of it is you can vary the look of it by changing the colour of the quills and bead. I always make sure I have plenty of these flies when I’m on the river. 

I like to fish it with two methods, it’s a good fly to use when fishing the duo method for searching out fish in pocket water. I also use it when fishing the French leader as a lighter fly above the point fly. 
I hope you enjoyed this blog! And I hope to be out fishing soon so I can share my adventures! 

Tight lines 🙂 

How To Tie The Olive Jig 

The olive jig is one of my favourite nymph patterns. I’ve found it effective on my local river in the early stages of the trout season and it is responsible for my personal best wild river brownie. 

When I first started fly tying only about 3 years ago,  I use to spend my evenings searching the internet in search of patterns I could attempt. Whilst watching YouTube videos I stumbled across well known angler and brilliant fly tyer Steffan Jones, and his Olive Jig Nymph after seing his creation i wanted to attempt the pattern. 

I took to my vice and set about to tie the nymph, The first few weren’t brilliant but  put them in my box and took them to try on the river. As all fly tyers know, the joy of catching a fish on a fly you’ve tied never gets old. 

It wasn’t until I was tying at my first fly tying event at Fly Only in Huddersfield where i was talking to highly experienced angler and fly tyer Alex Jardine. He suggested to add an orange tag to the fly which made it look even more appealing ( if your a trout!) 

So here’s a step by step on how I tie my version of the Olive Jig. 

Materials used;

Hook – Partridge of Redditch jig hook #18 

Thread – UNI -thread 8/0 camel (or brown) 

Bead – slotted tungsten 3.0

Tail 1 – glo Brite – orange

Tail 2 – Coq De Leon fibres 

Body – trans brite (olive) 

Thorax – hares ear (the really spikey bits!!) 
Step 1 – 

Pop the bead onto the hook and secure it in your vice. 

Step 2 – 

Set your thread off and secure the bead in place so it doesn’t move about. 

Step 3 – 

Run the thread down the hook, stopping just befor the bend. At this point catch in the glo brite. 

Step 4 – 

I like to cut off the glo brite at this point leaving a tag end, not too big though! 

Step 5 – 

Step 5 is adding tail 2, the Coq De Leon fibres, I like to use 5/6 of them, you don’t need too many as Coq De Leon is lovely and robust! 

Step 6 – 

Take your tying thread back up towards the bead of the eye where you can catch in the trans brite. 

Step 7 – 

At this point I take the 1 strand of trans brite and wind it down with touching turns until I reach the bottom, where I work my way back up creating a nice tapered body to the fly. As Steffan notes in his video,  the more times you go over with trans brite the darker it gets as it’s a transparent material so you can taper the fly to get darker as your working your way back towards the bead. 

Step 8 – 

The fly is almost done. All that is left to do is add the thorax, for this I use the spikiest hears ear dubbing I can find, gathering some (not too much) and dubbing it onto the tying thread. Then winding it around to create a spiky thorax. 

Step 9 – whip finish and add a dab of varnish to secure the thread. At this point you could tease out some of the dubbing. And it’s done! Ready to fish! 

Thanks to Steffan Jones and Alex Jardine with your helpful advice on this patten that is a proven fish catcher! 
Tight lines. I’m 

Step by Step – How To Tie A CDC & Elk hair Caddis 

Towards the end of the trout season this fly Has been my number one choice of fly. It’s a simple fly to tie and I like to fish it as a duo, usually with a natural looking, small beaded nymph swimming underneath it. 

The steps below will show you how I like to tie the sedge. 

Hook – Partridge standard dry #14 

Thread – 6/0 or 8/0 uni brown / black. 

Body – hares ear dubbed. 

Wing 1 – 1 CDC feather. 

Wing 2 – Elk hair. 

Step 1 – place the hook in your vice and start your thread off at the eye of the hook, winding down the the bend of the hook. 


Step 2 – make a dubbing rope with your hears ear and wind back up the hook creating a tapered body. Leaving space at the eye for the CDC and elk hair. 



Step 3 – select a CDC feather to tie in for your first wing. a note when tying the CDC in is I like to tie it in so its just a little bit longer than the body.  

Step 4 – trim away the waste end of the CDC and grab your elk hair! Select a bunch of elk hair, when you’ve cut it off the tips need to be stacked to make them line up. All you need to do is place them in a hair stacker tips first, and tap it on your tying bench a few times. Take the hair out of the stacker and place them on top of the CDC.  


Step 5 – tie in the elk hair the same length as the CDC. A couple of loose turns then tighten up with the thread. 

 Step 6 – trim off the waste pieces of elk hair, cutting them of at an angle. getting as close as you can to the hook to make it less bulky. Making sure you keep the eye of the hook clear. 

Step 7 – finishing the fly by tidying up with  a bit of  hares ear to create a head then whip finish. 

And that’s how I tie the CDC Elk Hair Caddis! When fishing this I tend to use some gink on the elk hair just to keep the buoyancy of the fly. I hope you have found this step by step helpful! 

I’ll be at Fly Only next weekend (7th November) for their fly tying day tying patterns I use whilst fishing on my local river, be sure to pop in and say hello of you’re passing!